US digital music sales increase 15% over last year

2012 digital music sales on pace to break 2011 record

The music industry is continuing to boom in the digital market, and according to the latest numbers, digital sales are on a record-setting pace.

Based on research data gathered by Nielsen - the information and measurement firm - 1.3 billion digital tracks were sold in 2011, making it the strongest year for digital music at that time.

However, Nielsen's latest sales telemetry revealed that as of August 2012 digital sales have already reached one billion tracks.

That's a 15 percent increase over the same time last year, which also means with still a few months left until New Year's Day 2013, 2011's record may not last much longer.

More devices equals more downloads

Nielsen's data points to an increase in the amount of electronic devices that can play digital music as a major contributing factor in the massive sales growth.

"As we look ahead, it's clear that digital music purchases - and consumption through streaming sources - will continue to grow, and that consumers' appetites for digital music will change at the speed of technology," said David Bakula, senior vice president of client development at Nielsen.

With more and more consumers adopting smartphones like the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 in addition to media devices like the new iPod touch and Google's Nexus 7, there's no shortage of ways to listen to digital music.

"These trends will no doubt continue to shape the way that music is discovered, marketed, consumed and sold," Bakula added.

Even with music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora also seeing record numbers, and the coming of Xbox Music rumored on Oct. 26, as well as rumors of an Apple streaming music service, digital sales should continue to see tremendous growth.

It will be interesting to see Nielsen's updated numbers later this year, and learn if 2012 can be another banner year for digital music.

Via Musically, Nielsen